Dear High School Students,

People say when you’re in high school, those four years are the most important years of your life. Or they count your success by your GPA and your accomplishments with how well you do in sports and how many friends you have. This last year, junior year, a new expectation came about. Most schools push the idea that by the time you walk out of those doors when you graduate, you need to have a plan. You need to either go to college, join the military or a trade, or do an entrepreneurship. That is the only way you can be successful. These algorithms need to be broken. It’s not just our school and our parents that set these standards and mindsets, it’s us students who believe them and try our hardest to live up to them. Maintaining a 4.0 GPA, while going to work part-time and exhausting your body with the sport you love, and having daily chores, a home and social life to keep up with is a lot. Personally, if I don’t exceed those things, I feel like I have failed due to these brainwashing theories. After not being in school for two months and out of work for a month and missing the sport I love, I have taken time to reflect on these things. I know I can’t change everybody’s mindsets and beliefs, and how schools are run and how parents raise their kids, but for all the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors that go to my school and read the paper, this one’s for you. 

These next four, three or two years are not the most important in your life. They do not have to be. They could be the worst years of your life. Personally, I did not like freshman and junior year, but sophomore year was the most amazing year of my life. And that is okay. It is normal to not like high school. It is normal to love high school. You get to dictate what years are most important to you.

Secondly, grades are the most lame measuring system there is. Grades do not define how smart you are. We are handed tests and packets and vocabulary sheets and if you do not score 70 percent or higher you are put into lower classes. You know far more than what the paper asks you to know. It is hard to believe you’re smart when you don’t test well and in order to get into a majority of universities your test score matters. People consider a C or a D failing. If you study all night and know the material front and back and get a C, you didn’t fail. You aced that test. If you do your very best and your very best is a C, that’s more than okay. It shouldn’t matter if you eat lunch alone or with 10 other people. If you made Varsity or JV, what matters is your effort. It sucks that effort doesn’t matter in high school unless the result is what the coaches or teachers are looking for. Your success in your mind needs to be measured by how hard you tried.

Lastly, for my juniors and seniors; the secret is that it’s okay not to have it all figured out. I am moving to Spokane, Washington in August 2021 with no plans and I couldn’t be more excited. I am not sure about my career, what I am sure about is working and traveling. Rediscovering and learning to love your life for nobody but yourself is so important. Do what makes you happiest. That’s okay if you don’t know, we are so young and we have our whole lives ahead of us. These are things I have learned and why I believe the high school algorithm needs to be broken.